Flood Recovery: Letting the River Heal Itself

Flood Recovery: Letting the River Heal Itself

The recent extreme storms and Memorial Day floods have wreaked havoc across the state.  Lives were lost, century old trees and homes were washed away, bridges were wiped out, and some reports estimate at least $27 million in infrastructure damages.

The good news is that the best thing you can do for your trees and river banks is to leave them alone.  A lot of great resources have come out of the Wimberley Flood Recovery efforts:

Blanco River Restoration Video:

Taking the Long View on Tree and River Recovery

-Steve Nelle, retired, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 5/27/15

  1. The broken and uprooted cypress can actually be a good thing for the future health and stability of the river
  1. Leave large and small woody debris in place. Do not burn it or remove it or saw it up in small pieces. The wood helps to dissipate energy, and stabilize banks, channel and floodplain.
  1. These debris piles is where new plants will establish best.  This is nature’s way to hasten recovery.
  1. Minimize or eliminate tractors and large equipment unless absolutely necessary.
  1. Do not attempt to hire contractors to repair banks, remove gravel, or alter the channel.
  1. Be patient – natural recovery processes are very effective when allowed to work.
  1. Be aggressive about controlling wildlife, especially Axis deer and  other exotics that may be grazing or browsing in the riparian zone while it is trying to recover.
  1. Change our attitude about what is a beautiful riparian area – they are not supposed to look clean and manicured but rather thick with wood and vegetation.
  1. Take photos now and every 6 – 12 months – repeat photos at fixed point photos to show the recovery process. This will be very meaningful in the future.

After-the-storm_Flooding-1_Page_1

Caring for Damaged Trees (Texas A&M Forest Service)

Can My Tree Be Saved? (Texas A&M Forest Service)